As God Sees Us 2/5/2012
Let’s begin with Romans 4:17. I just want to plant that in our minds so it just kind of simmers there. There’s something my mom always told me and it turns out to be true. A lot of people have problems with this. I don’t know that she actually understood the science behind it, but she knew what she experienced. She always told us when we were kids, “Study your homework before you’re taking the test. Then, go to bed, put the book under your pillow and sleep on it. The next morning you’ll wake up a lot smarter”
I wondered, “How does that work?”
Mom said, “I don’t know. I guess it just soaks up through the pillow into your brain.”
Well, they found out that if a person studies and then “sleeps on it” their brain is actually rummaging around all that information they’ve been sticking in their head and it starts sorting and stacking it and going oh, yeah, we’re here and I understand this.
I started working crossword puzzles here lately, and I’m not good with these so I go through them. Are you guys crossword workers, you know? You know, I try. I have the books and I go down through them and I fill out everything I know, and then I think eh, and throw it aside. Later I go to bed. The next morning I get up and while I’m drinking coffee I start going through it and there are the answers that I could not figure out before. While I slept, my brain was going oh yeah, that’s what that means, and that’s what that means, and I’ll start filling it out and low and behold I do better the next morning after I’ve read through it.
So, that’s what I’m doing this morning. I’m going to give us a piece of a verse because I want it sitting in our heads so when I get to the end and I make reference to it again, it will already be there and it will make more sense to us.
Romans 4, the last part of verse 17, “even God who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist.” If you want it literally it says, “even God who gives life to the dead and calls the things which do not exist as existing.”
God calls the things that do not exist as existing. An example of that; in the beginning there was God, and He said, “Life,” and there it was. He called it. It did not exist, and he called it into existence. So, when God does things, He works on faith just like He does us. That’s why he calls us His children. He is looking for people who have that same, I don’t know what to call it, a
certain je ne sais quoi is what you say in French. He calls things into existence that do not exist. He sees things that have not existed and says yes, it does, and it comes into being. Is that not an awesome God? And then He tells us to walk by faith.
Now, we’re going to go over into the book of Hebrews. Just let that float around in your brain. This is going to be a more in depth Bible study than probably what I have ever tried in this church. Why? Because you people are smart. You’ve got more on the ball than you give yourself credit for. Okay? And I’m not lying. I’m not practicing that faith thing saying lets just call it into existence. As though it’s not there, but by golly they’re going to become brilliant. You guys have got more going than what you realize.
Now, let’s read Hebrews 10:12-24. Now That’s a long passage, and I’m reading it out of New American Standard Bible. “But He,” that’s Jesus, “But He having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God waiting from that time onward until his enemies be made a footstool for his feet. For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified. And, the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us for after saying,” now this is a quote from the Old Testament, “‘This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days,’ says the Lord. I will put my laws upon their heart, and upon their mind I will write them.'” Then He says, “And their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”
“Now, where there is forgiveness of these things there is no longer any offering for sin. Since therefore brethren, we have confidence to enter the Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with sincere heart in full assurance of faith having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds.”
We’re going to back up and break this down just a little bit, to emphasize portions because we’re going to a particular place. Verse 12, we’re talking about Christ, “But Christ having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God.”
For He offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, and sat down at the right hand of God. How many times did Christ sacrifice? One. How many sacrifices? One. And what was that sacrifice? His blood was shed for the forgiveness of sins and his body was broken so we would receive all the other blessings. He offered one sacrifice and one sacrifice only for all time.
In the Old Testament, remember they had the priest and he would enter into this room and it was called the The Holies. A priest could go in there every day and do his work, but once a year the high priest would advance one room farther in, and it was called The Holy of Holies. It was set apart from the place that was set apart, and inside there was the Arc of the Covenant.
The high priest would walk into that room bearing blood, and he would take his finger and sprinkle blood on the top of that arc which was called the mercy seat. He would sprinkle blood in front of it 7 times, he would then walk out of that room. The curtain would be shut, and he would not return until the next year when he would make another sacrifice, and again approach that room with the blood.
Our covenant, the contract that we work under, is a lot better. Our high priest, one time, took that blood, He walked into the very Holy of Holies of God, not the Holy of Holies in Jerusalem, but the very Holy of Holies of the heavens, went into the very presence of God the Father, had the blood and sat there on the mercy seat. On the heavenly mercy seat is the perfect sacrifice. There in front of it 7 times. Then He said, I don’t ever have to leave this sanctuary. I don’t have to go back and make another sacrifice ever again for all time. And he sat down in the Holy of Holies of the heavens. That is awesome.
If the Jerusalem high priest had tried that, he would have been struck dead because his sacrifice was only good for one year, and the arrogance of some man thinking he could go into the very presence of God and sit down at the right hand, he would have been struck dead.
You all know that they tied a rope around the high priest’s ankle, didn’t you? So, if he went in there and something wasn’t absolutely perfect and he got struck dead they could pull him out of there, because no one wanted to go in and get him. He had little bells on his garments so while he was moving they would go jingle, jingle, jingle, jingle, and if they ever heard it go jingle and something went thud, they would have needed to pull the rope.
Jesus doesn’t need bells. Jesus doesn’t need a rope. Jesus Christ went in one time with one sacrifice, made the offering and then sat down. And why is He sitting there? Because He is waiting for his enemies to be made a footstool. Why? Because God said that’s what’s going to happen, and He said oh yeah, I believe you God, I believe you dad, I believe you father. I’m going to wait right here and watch you accomplish what your word says.
But notice, this is the important part, “but He having offered one sacrifice for sins,” remember sins are failures. Not just the breaking of the 10 commandments, but anytime you don’t do something absolutely perfect, it’s a failure. But He sacrificed, by having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time.
All, A-L-L. What is it actually saying? For all time. His sacrifice was so good that it took care of all the sins of all the past. His sacrifice was so good it took care of all the sins of the present. His sacrifice is so good it took care of all the sins of the future. That’s why that Old Testament priest had to come back every year, year after year. It wasn’t good enough to take care of anything into the future. It only worked for that one year, covered it up. Covered it up, that’s what the Old Testament word means. It would atone. It would cover the sins for one year, and then he would have to show back up and do it again.
The blood of Christ did better than that. It took the sins away, it took them away from the past, it took them away from the present, and it took them away from the future. So, the one sacrifice is so good that it took care of everything, past, present and future, never to be repeated again. One sacrifice. One offering.
Now, if you’ll let us go down to verse 14, “For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.” The one offering that dealt with sin for all time was the blood of Christ. His very own blood and broken body. He made the sacrifice.
Verse 14 refers to that same offering, “For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.” For all time, past, present and future. One offering He has perfected for all time past, present and future. Same idea. Okay? The word perfected, this is the hard part, the word perfected means perfected. The word perfected means to bring to completion. The word perfected means to bring to a level of maturity. He says, the writer of Hebrews, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, says for by one offering, that very offering that He entered into the Holy of Holies in the heavenlies, by that one offering He brought to maturity, He brought to completion, He brought to perfection, He brought all of that for all time, past present and future, those who are sanctified.
Notice how it says it, “For by one offering He has perfected.” It’s not He is going to perfect them, but He has accomplished this maturity level for all time, and who has He done it for? Who has He accomplished this for? For those who are sanctified.
He has perfected. He has brought to maturity. He has brought to completion those who are, that’s a past tense verb, those who are sanctified. What’s sanctification? Does it mean that I have a halo? Nope. Does it mean that I’m so good that my feet do not touch the ground? Nope. All sanctification means, once again, is to be set apart for the use of God.
So, God has completed every person who has been set apart for His use. Set apart for God. Just keep following this. Who are the sanctified? Troy is sanctified. Who are the sanctified? You are. If you’ve accepted Jesus Christ as your personal savior and you said you are my Lord, I’m following you, you are my God and I’m yours, you are now set apart for His usage. Yeah. Isn’t that a hard one? Because we’re all sitting here thinking yeah, but you don’t know me.
I don’t want to know you. I want to know what Christ has done for you. He has washed away your sins, past, present and future. Has washed them away. Accomplished. He has completed you, and perfected you, and brought you to a level of maturity. Has, not will. Has already accomplished that. Has if you’re one of the sanctified. Are you sanctified? I’ve called on Christ to forgive me of my sins. I’ve called on Christ to be my Lord and my savior. I have agreed that my life is dedicated to him. I’m sanctified. Ohhh.
You know, in the Old Testament it was if you had the right behavior you would have right thinking. That’s the way they thought it would work under the Old Testament. If you have right behavior you would have right thinking. It didn’t work, did it? Because, when Jesus got there He said oh, so you haven’t committed adultery, but let’s take it to what it actually means. Have you ever thought about it? Well, then you’ve done it in your heart.
The New Testament changes it to this. Right thinking will bring about right behavior. Right thinking will bring about right behavior. We walk by faith and not by sight. Doyle, where is my perfection? Where is my maturity? Where is my completeness? I don’t see it. If it’s any relief I don’t see it in you guys, I don’t see it in myself. But what are we supposed to be doing? We’re supposed to be walking by faith, not by what we see.
When it talks in verse 18, “Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin.” We’re backing it up a little bit and we’re going to pick this up again with, “Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin.”
Why? We know that sin is the failures, our failures to do good things, our failures when we don’t keep the law, so what things is it talking about? We back it up to the verse before and it says, “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord. I will put my laws upon their heart, and upon their mind I will write them.” These are the things. “And their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” Now, where there is forgiveness of these things, sins and lawless deeds.
So folks we have to keep this in mind. Sins includes lawless deeds, but lawless deeds does not include sins. All Chihuahuas are dogs, but not all dogs are Chihuahuas. All lawless deeds is sin, but not all sins are lawless deeds. That’s why if we haven’t done something with absolute perfection we have still committed a failure, and so he’s dealing with both our sins and our lawless deeds. He wants us to understand this is a complete package. “And their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more, for where there is forgiveness of these things there is no longer any offering.”
The forgiveness here means that God dismisses just like that our sins, and our lawless deeds. The word to forgive means to dismiss. That’s the way God views our sins. When we come to Him and say will you forgive me, the blood of Christ is so good that He looks at our sins and says, you’re dismissed. Our sins are dismissed from us. They walk away from us. God through Christ has dismissed our failures. He has also dismissed our lawless deeds.
Now, we have this standing before God, ours sins and our failures have been dismissed. What did it say in that first part of that verse? Oh, it says and He having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time. Okay, for all time. What’s all time? Past, present and future. Isn’t that what it says? All. A-L-L time. He has dismissed our lawless deeds and our sins and He remembers them no more. He is dealing with us just like that. All of our sins, past and present and even our future sins, He has dismissed against us.
“Blessed is the man to whom God does not impute sin.” Favored is the man to whom God does not impute sin. That is a quote straight out of scripture. Those people are the ones that even though they’re living in this present world He says I’m not going to hold your failures, your sins, your lawless deeds against you. You’re favored folks. Are you one of the sanctified? Then your sins have been dismissed. Your lawless deeds are gone. There is no more sacrifice. Christ’s sacrifice is so good He accomplished this, and there’s nothing left for us to do or us to say other than thank you very much and to start living the life.
Now, here’s the good part. Let’s go into the rest of it. “Since therefore brethren, because of that brethren, we have confidence to enter into the Holy Place by the blood of Jesus Christ.” There is no reason, none, for you to ever hold back. Even if you’ve done something wrong this morning and you say ohhhh, you go boldly into the presence of God because He has dismissed your sins from you, and He will not hold it against you.
Before that, any person in the Old Testament who tried to break through into the presence of the Holy God, He would have struck dead. Remember that one time they were moving the Arc of the Covenant and they thought it was going to fall. They didn’t think God would take care of the arc and the man reached out and touched it and God struck him dead?
You know today we could walk up and touch that thing. Woo hoo. Because our sins have been dismissed. We are to have that level of boldness and confidence. What are we to have? Let us draw near with a sincere heart. Let us have confidence to enter in. Because of the great high priest we have let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
He is telling us to be bold. We are not to be timid. Based upon what has happened and what we have read in the scripture, we are to boldly go where no man has gone before. We are to boldly go forward into the presence of God. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope. Let’s hold what it says right here and walk into the very presence of God and say thank you for not holding the things against me. Thank you.
We have this absolute hope, this absolute assurance without wavering that what He said is true. That’s why it says in verse 23, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering for He who promised is faithful.” He is saying to us come home. Let’s go to God in prayer like this, dad, I’m home, every time we enter into the presence of God. Isn’t that the way you did it when you came home from school? I had a mom at home. Flung that door open and yelled, “Mom, I’m home” I didn’t know where she was. She could be upstairs, she could have been downstairs, she could have been out on the back porch, but I yelled loud enough that she knew because I entered boldly into that house every day after school.
That’s the way we’re supposed to enter into the very presence of God. We’re going home to our heavenly father. We should boldly go into His presence and say dad, I’m home. And He says glad to see you son, glad to see you daughter, glad to see you kids. Come on in. Have a seat. Whoa. Have a seat. The high priest in the Old Testament couldn’t do that, but we’re told in the book of Ephesians that we are seated with Christ in the heavenly. Have a seat.
We get to sit down with God Almighty and Jesus Christ and rest knowing with this full assurance and confidence that the things that He said are absolutely true. What has He told us? Verse 12, that He made an offering for all sins for all time. Verse 14, that He has perfected, brought to a level of maturity, brought to a level of completeness all the people who are sanctified. He tells us to hold with certain confidence that He does not lie, and what He has told us is absolute truth. Yeah, Buddy. This is amazing stuff here.
Then He tells us after that; let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds. Because our sins are not held against us, because we are sanctified, because He sees us at that level of maturity, let us encourage, provoke, urge, whatever it takes to get each other to do things out of love and to do good deeds, not just within the church, but outside the church also. We’re not doing it trying to earn that blessing of God. Folks, we have been blessed because our sin is not imputed against us. We’re now to have the right thinking so that our actions will flow from the right way of our heart.
Okay, Romans 4:17. The last part of it says this, “even God who gives life to the dead,” we were dead in our sins and trespassed, so he gave us life, “”even God who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist.” Even God who gives life to the dead literally, calls the things which do not exist as existing. Okay, now we’re about to complete this whole circle. He is doing an act of faith in our lives. He is looking at me, who frankly am not perfect. I am not very mature. I think bringing the prune juice was hilarious. I have that level of immaturity. I am not perfect, I am not complete, but my God says by His faith He is looking at me and saying you are mature, you are complete and you are perfect. I am agreeing with Him at this point saying God said it, that’s the way it is buddy. I’m not arguing with Him because He has the ability to see things that don’t exist and call them into existence.
What He is doing in our lives according to this book of Hebrews? He is calling us into existence as mature, as complete, as perfect Christians, and when we start confessing and agreeing with Him saying that’s right and I have utter confidence in what He says, my God does not lie, I can go boldly into the throne and say I’m home, and He will say glad to see you, and I can sit down, have a cup of coffee with Him and tell him all about my troubles, tell Him all about the good times, and He will not hold anything against me. He cares about me, and He will walk with me, He will talk with me, and He will hear me, and as we get this stuff in our head, then that level of maturity, that level of confidence will start forming within itself because we’re saying God sees me as complete. God sees me, therefore I am mature, I am confident and I know my God does not lie.
And it’s all based on that offering. One offering, never to be made again, Jesus Christ. Now, we’re going to have communion. Remember it says as oft as you do this, drink of this cup and eat of this bread, do so in remembrance of me because we are to remember what? His death. Because by our remembering His death, it confirms it’s sanctified. It sets in concrete my level of maturity. My completeness. My perfection. My dismissal of all my sins, past, present and future, was all accomplished, and so we’re to focus on the fact that our sacrifice is absolutely perfect. We’re not doing it again, we’re just recognizing what he has already accomplished and saying I’ll eat and drink to that.
I know people say that’s crass, but that’s what we’re doing. We’re saying He died for me, and it’s good enough. One time and one time only. I’ll eat and drink to that because this is a confirmation of the contract.